September 11th is a day that will live in infamy, our generation's Pearl Harbor.  An unprecedented and unprovoked assault on the psyche of the nation.  For a time, we came together to try and heal holistically.  If we are all Americans, we all need each other to grieve and go forward.

 But something started to fester below the surface.  Distrust of "others" who weren't like us.  Painting people of color with a broad brush.  Deciding that one religion may be the cause of all the world's evils.  Keep this in mind:  every time you say to a friend on the phone, "not in my backyard," your child is listening.  When you use disparaging racial slurs, you tell your kids what you believe about people with an accent.

Most of the Muslims in the world are good people.  Very few are terrorists.  Only a minute percentage are willing to die themselves in order to destroy us.  I'll go even farther.  Most of the people in the entire world are good people.  Just trying to earn a decent day's wage, put food on the table, have a few small comforts of home.

The lesson I wish we had learned is that there's good and bad in every race, religion, country, even every individual.  Light and darkness.  Either can be tapped into.  It takes a small choice every day to work toward a better life but they add up and make a difference.  Let's remember the fallen on this 9/11, and honor their memory by doing the right thing, reflexively, each and every day, and teaching our children the same.  Expose them to the teachings of world religions and to the beauty of other cultures so they know what is true - no one is born a terrorist, an infidel, a genocidal despot.  It's only because good people stand by and say nothing that these weeds grow in our global garden.  Let's do some pruning today, starting from the inside, and make way for the crops that can feed families and the fragrant flowers that add so much color and beauty to our lives.  It always begins at home.

Please remind me that my heart
has only four chambers.
Scant room for such squatters
as grudges, slights, pettiness.
If I carry around baggage from the past,
there isn't room for blessings unbounded.

Help me to disarm unilaterally,
so it isn't possible to engage
in anything but joy.
So I turn over my weapons to You.
Help me be serene in a world with
such oxymorons as peace-keeping missiles.
Help me release my faith: World peace is possible.
My peace is here.

-Ruth Williams


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